Slow Cooked Beef In Guinness
Now, I’m going to write this post and go ask my husband for the recipe so I can attach it here and he’s going to say, ‘hmmm, recipe?’ He’ll start talking about throwing in a bit of this and some more of that and making it look just that certain way, and then you’ll know it’s ready. And what I should do is text one of the women who prepped alongside him for years because they probably at least have vague measurements in their heads.
Beef in Guinness, like all good stewy recipes, is pretty hard to get wrong. When the weather turns, as it will (after the longest end of summer on record here in Vermont), our thoughts turn to stews. And mashed potatoes. And cozy everything. I’m not certain that there was ever a more hotly anticipated dish on our menu than Beef in Guinness. Each fall, we all smiled when the ingredients were purchased for the first time. We all loved the slow-cooked smell.
Vegetarians aside, I’ve never met a person who doesn’t love this dish. One customer rejoiced in its lack of vegetables – ‘meat and potatoes, that’s it?!’ he said the first time, with the glee of a 5-year-old. This is the dish that gets sent to grieving homes, to overburdened parents, to friends in need of a little nutritional love. It gets better with time. Once, when we had run out of it during a pub night and I was explaining this to a regular customer, I told him we’d sold out, there was only about a half a portion at the bottom of the pot. And he begged for it. And he was not wrong, that last bit, the bit that has sat for a day or two, slow cooking at the bottom of the pot, truly is the best bit.
Now, I know there was an original recipe. We’ve given out our version of this recipe countless time over the years. But the real reason I know there is/was a recipe is that this is the first ever dish we cooked for a public event, only a few weeks after buying our inn. We were asked to do a holiday meal for our town road crew and Selectboard and we were a bundle of nerves about it. We wanted to make people happy, show them who we were and what we could cook and what our place would feel like and we chose Slow Cooked Beef in Guinness. The original recipe called for dumplings to be served on top of this dish. (I only know this because of a journal I kept, very briefly, in those first few months) The dumplings, they never made it out of the oven. I’m certain we stressed over this, perhaps even fought, I’m sure the hubby would have been pissed off about it. The town? They loved this dish, loved this meal, grew to love us too, and we never thought of serving a dumpling on top of this dish again. Make your best mashed potatoes and enjoy.
P.S. No dogs were harmed in the making of this post. That is my Dad’s dog’s favorite wintertime spot, his choice.
Slow Cooked Beef in Guinness
Delicious cold weather stew
- 3 lbs stew beef cut into 2 inch cubes
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 8 oz onions chopped
- 1 - 2 tbsp flour
- 1 pint (20 oz) Guinness
- 2 springs fresh thyme stripped
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 clove garlic chopped
- salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 275F. You'll want a large, lidded, ovenproof pan. We use a dutch oven most often. You can use the same pot on the stovetop and then put the lid on it to go into the oven. If you don't have this kind of pan, do the searing, etc. in a large pan and transfer into a casserole for the long oven cook.
Heat the oil in a flameproof casserole on top of the stove, over medium/high heat. Once it’s hot, add the beef a few pieces at a time and sear them until they are brown. As they brown remove them to a plate.
Add the onions and cook until brown at the edges. Lower the heat and return the meat to the casserole (along with any juices that are on the plate). Stir in the flour with a wooden spoon.
Next stir in the Guinness and add the thyme (pulling off the leaves and discarding the stalks), bay leaf and garlic. Season with salt and pepper and bring the whole pot to a simmering point.
Cover the casserole and transfer to the center of the oven. Cook for three hours. Stir a few times during cooking and remove bay leaf before serving.
Serve over your favorite mashed potatoes. Add a side of vegetables only if you are so inclined.